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How flying high can leave you feeling low

TRAVELING for work or for leisure can bring on jet lag, a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, pain, anxiety, dehydration, headaches and other symptoms. Fei Lai lies back and luxuriates in the cures.

Holiday, even work travel, feels so good at the time and the different experiences and atmospheres can stimulate even the most jaded. But there is often a price to pay for the adventure. It's more than jet lag. It's travel fatigue.

"I feel completely unmotivated and don't want to do anything, especially work. I find myself staying up long past midnight," says nurse Yang Lili, after a six-day trip to Yunnan Province.

"I think of it as travel-related depression. I hope to have some time on my own and some peace and quiet, rather than dashing directly into the daily trifles."

Traveling for work or for leisure can bring on jet lag, a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, pain, anxiety, dehydration, headaches and other symptoms simply because of air travel that crosses time zones, says Amanda Teng, manager of the Yuan Spa at the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai.

Cumulative travel fatigue, from frequent or consecutive trips, can result in such physiological and psychological conditions as anxiety, obesity, depression, cardiac disease, reduced performance, job burnout and interpersonal difficulties.

"To overcome travel fatigue, one needs to call on the body's unique powers of sleep and stress reduction," Teng says. "By properly managing these functions, one can attain optimal performance after traveling."

According to Teng, a bath is a perfect way to begin releasing muscle tension and it is a simple matter to add the sensual pleasure of aromatherapy oils.

Some of the healing properties of the oils are absorbed by the skin while the rest evaporates producing those beautiful aromas, simultaneously soothing muscles and mind. Bathtime blends such as camomile, lavender and rose have a calming function, while a blend of grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, peppermint, pine can uplift one's spirit.

Most people sleep better after a warm soothing bath. The improvement in one's sleep will considerably help reduce the effects of travel fatigue and jet lag.

The water temperature should be about 40 degrees Celsius. Showering for between 15 and 20 minutes is recommended. A foot spa has a similar effect and can help create a sound sleep and improve circulation.

Massage is probably the oldest and simplest form of health care for unblocking the chi, the vital energy that flows through our bodies. Massage techniques have been proven to unleash countless therapeutic benefits from helping the heart rate, the blood pressure, digestion and soothing tired muscles.

"The relaxing combination of warm soothing water coupled with a massage will go a very long way to revive you and provide the respite so often needed after a long car journey or a long flight," Teng says.

Misconceptions such as that sleeping or sitting still and idling away your time can help restore your physical strength still exist. In fact, some regular exercising such as jogging after a journey can act like a buffer, effectively eliminating tiredness.

Eating right after returning home from travel is also vital to drive away fatigue. Kelp, laver, fresh vegetables, fruits and bean products will help keep the body balanced. Protein helps with alertness - order eggs or cheese at breakfast.

Tea can help increase the frequency of breathing and depth. Drinking tea is conducive to reviving your body.

According to Teng's own experience, performing regular exercises on a long flight can help reduce travel fatigue. Putting you hands on the arm rests and slowly twisting your torso to loosen the upper body helps.

Using a hydration mask everyday will give your face a healthy glow.

And look to travel with luggage that is ergonomically designed - this can help relieve physical discomfort with well designed handles and wheels that adjust to the way you carry your bags.


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